We’ve improved over the tournament Sthalekar
The only team that has won all its three matches in the first phase of the 2013 ICC Women’s World Cup is Australia. The women from Down Under, therefore, are the only ones in the tournament who will carry forward four points into the Super Six stage. The Jodie Fields-led side will be high on confidence when they take on England in the first Super Six match at the Brabourne Stadium on February 8.
The Australians have played a warm-up game at the venue earlier and have played all their group matches at Cuttack. Ahead of the all-important game, Australian off-spinner Lisa Sthalekar spoke about her team’s performance and preparation while addressing the media at the CCI.
Excerpts from her pre-match press conference:
On her team’s form
I think we have actually been able to improve over those three games. The first two games were against an opposition who we weren’t familiar with; and then [we] obviously improved. We were faced with some difficult situations, but we were able to get through. And then in the last game against the Kiwis, we finally came out with the type of game we wanted to play in this tournament.
On the difference in conditions in Cuttack and Mumbai
In Cuttack there wasn’t a lot of turn in the wicket. The wicket was too paced and had variable bounce, especially [during] the game against South Africa. The wicket that we played against New Zealand was truer, which reflected in the score. Here, what we had been able to see over the televised matches and our warm-ups, there’s a bit of turn in the wicket; that excites me as a spinner. The fast outfield and the warm-ups that we played here have given us a good insight as to what the wicket will hold [for the match].
On how the Australian middle order is shaping up
The middle order has done alright. In our first two games we lost quick wickets; then we were able to build some partnerships, obviously not as big as we would have liked. The good thing is Jodie Fields is in form at the moment. She scored a hundred-odd in her in WNC’s final not too long ago. She is hitting the ball well. And Erin Osborne and Ellyse Perry are good strikers, and I know that they can go run-a-ball; if required they will do the job and I think they have been able to do that so far.
On England having a slight edge since they’ve played a few more games at CCI
They have played three more matches to get an idea of the pitch and the conditions, and it obviously depends on what wicket were you on and how many times that has been played. But I still feel that our match – the warm-up – was a good enough preparation and we just trained out there […]. So the girls are getting a good grip and understanding of the wicket. They might have a slight advantage but we are coming here fresh as well. So we are a bit excited, whereas they might be a bit over the scenery.
On coach Cathryn Fitzpatrick
As a player she has had high expectations of herself and that hasn’t changed as a coach. She wants to get the best out of us. Obviously, we hadn’t played as well as we would have liked in the first two matches and she identified the areas that we needed to work on and did it in a manner that didn’t threaten us or didn’t put us on the back foot. We are gelling well together and her also coming into the role after being an assistant has been really good. She has an understanding of what we need and I think she is getting the best out of us at the moment.
On the conditions expected on game day
The conditions do change over sometime. Initially, there will be something for the bowlers […] but the wickets tend to flatten out and become batting paradise. And we’ve seen that with the ball swinging early on and then the spinners come into their own. [...]